Durban is the principal town of KwaZulu-Natal province, and South Africa’s third largest city. Durban is a popular destination thanks to its enviable climate and extensive beaches, but it’s also home to a number of cultural gems, to include contemporary art spaces showcasing local talent. We profile ten must-visit contemporary art galleries in Durban.
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The Dodds Gallery
The Dodds Gallery is located in the middle of an extensive plant nursery, focused on showcasing the work of both emerging and established local South African artists. Names such as Anton Benzon, Dianne Erasmus, Kobus Kotze, Nicki Chovu Chovu, Charmaine Eastment, Tony de Freitas, and Helena Wagenaar are among the 63 artists The Dodds Gallery represents. The gallery hosts a new exhibition every six weeks, and introduces the work of renowned artists who have never had solo exhibitions before.
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Kznsa Gallery was founded over a century ago, and today, it showcases local, national, and international artists, committed to the promotion of contemporary art through extensive exhibitions and educational programs. Kznsa Gallery is housed in a building designed by an award-winning architect, and supports established and emerging artists. The gallery presents a wide variety of arts disciplines, from installations and performance art events to exhibitions displayed in different spaces, which are interconnected with one another: the Main gallery downstairs, with over 160 square meters, and the Mezzanine and Park galleries housed upstairs are devoted to small shows.
Elizabeth Gordon Gallery
Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, established nearly 30 years ago, is housed in an old Edwardian building in the lively Florida Road. The gallery displays fine art of renowned and emerging South African talents, hosting exhibitions and providing advice to clients. In addition, Elizabeth Gordon Gallery is specialized in conservation framing and restoration of artworks. The gallery frequently hosts interesting new exhibitions and it represents more than 20 artists such as Barbara Siedle, Robert Domijan, Hussein Salim, John Smith, Lindy Acton or Nora Newton.
BAT Centre (‘The Bartel Arts Trust’) exhibits temporary shows by young, emerging, mainly black artists and craftspeople. This arts and culture community center overlooks the harbor in Durban’s Victoria Embankment and promotes local talent, encouraging their work, training their skills and opening markets for them, with the main aim of celebrate South Africa’s unique cultures and encourage cross-fertilization. This multi-purpose arts center is a vibrant hub for visual and performing arts and has become a popular venue for poetry and music gigs. It also hosts short courses, workshops and seminars on a continuous basis. The focus of the center is local arts, culture, crafts and entertainment that reflects the Zulu, Indian and western heritage of KwaZulu-Natal.
African Art Center
The African Art Center, in the center of Durban, has provided thousands of artists and craftspeople with opportunities to develop their talents for over 50 years. This center is devoted to support the creative efforts of black, youth and disadvantaged artists, living in the poorest communities and craving recognition for their work. The gallery showcases the best of traditional and contemporary South African art and craft, including handmade ceramics, paintings, works on paper, sculpture and embroidery. The African Art Center hosts training workshops and exhibitions to promote individuals and community groups and has a focus on the preservation of traditional craft skills while encouraging innovative and contemporary trends.
Durban Art Gallery
Durban Art Gallery is a large municipal gallery housed in the Durban City Hall that exhibits temporary shows and has a permanent collection specializing in Victorian painting and South African contemporary art. With over a century of history, this gallery is home to over 3,500 artworks, including British, French and Dutch paintings, French and Chinese ceramics, early glass vases by Lalique, bronzes by Rodin and works from many local artists and craftspeople. Its vast collection, mainly donated by historic philanthropists and arts collectors, comprehends European, Asian and African masterpieces from the 15th century to the present. The gallery also hosts a variety of activities such as lectures, classes, films and roaming art exhibitions.
Etchings Art Gallery
Etchings Art Gallery was established in 1993 and is devoted to supporting and promoting the work of new and well-established artists. This spacious contemporary art gallery, founded by Garnet and Wendy Cornell, an architect and an interior designer, is focused on high quality selected pieces from inventive artists. Etchings Art Gallery showcases original art and it specialized in mirrors, prints and framing. The gallery displays a wide selection of interesting artists and offers advice, assisting clients, designers and decorators.
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